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Title: Women diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder in adulthood : a narrative analysis of their stories in relation to their gender and development history
Author: Kanfiszer, Lucie
ISNI:       0000 0004 5991 3453
Awarding Body: University of Essex
Current Institution: University of Essex
Date of Award: 2015
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Background: Existing literature exploring autism within female populations predominantly utilises quantitative methodology. A limited number of small-scale, qualitative studies have explored the experiences of adolescent girls with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs), but adult women have not been heard. Autobiographical literature produced by women with an ASD has highlighted the influence of cultural ideology upon experience and well being. This study aims to broaden this to those less well-resourced; to empower the voices and stories of the wider community of women with an ASD, and apply scientific rigour. In doing so, it seeks to extend existing conceptualisations of experience to include socially and culturally located factors. Method: A qualitative methodology was adopted, framed by narrative inquiry, using the Multi-Stage Narrative Analysis method. Seven semi-structured interviews with women who received a diagnosis in adulthood were conducted. Recruitment spanned community mental health services, an inpatient learning disability service and a community support group. Results: The women's diverse experiences and stories were understood in the context of broad categories related to their self-perception, social relationships, care services and cultural ideology. Varied conceptualisation of delayed diagnosis between the inpatient and community participants contextualised these categories alongside the women's very unique and individual experiences. Discussion: The findings are discussed in relation to existing literature concerned with cognitive styles in autism, the life outcomes of adults with autism and existing constructions of the condition in a female population. The clinical implications of the findings are discussed in relation to the assessment and diagnosis of autism and service provision. Further research implications are considered alongside the limitations of the study.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psych) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available